Petit Gris de Rennes is a charentais-type, ever-so-sweet, juicy little melon with bright orange flesh. Its name translates as “little grey” for the dark green appearance of its skin before ripening. Originally cultivated in the garden of the Bishop of Rennes nearly four hundred years ago, it is now included in Slow Food’s Ark of Taste. Its astonishing survival to the present day is unquestionably due to its brown-sugar sweetness and intense flavour, making it la crème de la crème of French melons. This easy-to-grow heirloom variety arrives early, making it a good choice for northern gardens with short seasons. It’s perfect for smaller gardens and containers, with compact vines that grow to only 90 cm and produce good yields.
Petit gris de Rennes
La crème de la crème of French heirloom melons
Height 30 cm
Width 90-120 cm
Height 30 cm
Width 30 cm
Nasturtium, marigold, lavender, snapdragon, borage, catnip, mint, carrot, anise
How to grow
Germination 5-10 days
Harvesting 60-80 days
When sowing 10-15 cm; Depth 3 cm
When thinning Not required
Sunligth Full sun
Soil Well-drained, light, moist soil
Watering Regular, abundant watering
Feeding Heavy feeder
Expert tip Grow the melons off the ground in an espalier fashion to prevent the fruits from developing bruises and cracks. Over-watering before harvesting can cause bland-tasting fruit.
Pollinators increase the fruit set.
Resistant to fusarium wilt.
How to eat
Harvest when the fruit’s colour is pale orange and it has a pleasant, fruity aroma. The fruit should slip away from the vine when twisted gently. For fruit with extra flavour, stop watering one week before harvesting.
Medicinal properties Melon, which is 90% water, contributes to the body’s overall hydration.
How to eat Cantaloupe melon is normally eaten raw alone or in salads. For a simple yet sophisticated taste, try the familiar Italian antipasto prosciutto e melone: Flavourful, dry sliced prosciutto is the perfect wrap for melon’s sweet juiciness.